How Covid-19 has strengthened my HR expertise

Posting date:15 Apr 2020

We interviewed our very own HR extraordinaire, Meg Appleby and asked what impact the Coronavirus crisis was having on her own professional learning and development.

How did your story with Stanton House start?

“Taking what felt like a massive plunge moving from Leeds to the big smoke in 2016, I was offered the role as Business Administrator at Stanton House and nearly four years later I am now a HR generalist responsible for both HR and Talent Acquisition.”

How has your role changed over the last few weeks?

“The escalation of the coronavirus pandemic is something none of us expected and it’s hard to believe that around a month ago we were still in the office going about our (relatively) normal lives. Since then, it’s been a steep learning curve for us all and being at the centre of all things “people” has added a significant amount of responsibility to my role during these ever-changing circumstances.” “If I were to take one positive away from the pandemic it is that I have developed in my HR career faster than I could have ever imagined in the past few weeks.”

What are the key soft skills you’ve developed?

“Having the ability to absorb information and relay it back accurately to internal stakeholders has been amplified in the current situation as things move rapidly and you have to learn at lightning speed. With social media fuelling a wave of coronavirus misinformation, it’s easy to get caught up reading through reams of irrelevant and inaccurate information.”“Being able to digest information quickly and inform the relevant stakeholders of how this affects us, has been something I have had to adapt to. Alongside that, I’ve learnt that being curious and taking the initiative to ask questions is never a bad thing!”

What have your found most rewarding?

“One of the many things I personally love about working for a small business is that you generally have more interactions with the Senior Leadership Team. Throughout the pandemic, it has given me more opportunity than usual to become a trusted advisor to this group and I have gained confidence by being thrown in the deep end. I have felt more than ever that we are “one team” and I have been pleasantly surprised how much you can build strong relationships through a laptop screen!”

What have you found most challenging?

“Balancing the “BAU” with the additional workload from the virus whilst studying for my CIPD has been a challenge! Effectively prioritising what needs to get done today, and what can wait, has helped me to switch off at the end of the day and keep focussed on the job in hand. It’s getting back to basics but being extremely organised has been key throughout this.”

What have you learnt about yourself?

“I personally suffer from anxiety attacks and was initially daunted by the thought of being isolated at home and wondered if this might impact my mental health. Of course there has been tough days, but I have learnt that I am more resilient than I thought and have managed to get through so far - with online yoga, a good structure to my day and a sense of humour! I just have an overwhelming sense of pride for the company and everyone within it, the resilience that has been shown and how well everyone has adapted to working from home is incredible.

What  advice would you give to other HR professionals?

“I’ve always loved the saying “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” and that feels more relevant than ever right now. If I were to offer any advice, I would say it’s ok if you don’t spend this time at home learning a new language, or baking banana bread, or gaining a six pack - this is a completely unique situation and just getting through it is enough. It’s ok to just process your emotions. Go for a walk, play a silly game, dance around your living room. Do something that brings you peace and focus on what you can control. We will see the light again soon!”

We would love to hear impacts, insights and key learns from other professionals. Please get in touch to share your insights.

We want to help our customers in any way we can in these difficult times, so we’ve put together a handy PDF packed full of links to resources that will help keep us sane, fit and healthy, while we live and work from home. Everything from things to do with the kids through to podcasts, books and workouts. Download your copy below now.

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